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Outcomes Scientists May Miss in a Paperless Office

– Contributed content –

Test tubes in a lab

(Martin Lopez, Pexels)

12 July 2019. The benefits of going paperless have been coming to the fore in every business recently, and the scientific field is no different. Whether you run a health care center or a research lab, the chances are that you’re at least considering doing away with paper. Going paperless can cut costs and improve efficiency, after all, both of which are vital in every scientific area. But, before you jump in, you should consider the downsides you may not be expecting from this move.

Admittedly, there are no downsides significant enough to mean going paperless isn’t the best move. But, as with anything, preparing for holes is the best way to cover them. Without further ado, then, let us consider the paperless downsides you might not be prepared for.

Limited space for storage

Taking filing digital can lead to storage issues. Of course, these are problems many scientists face when using traditional filing methods, but you’ve probably developed solutions such as extended storage spaces or outside filing units.

When you transfer to digital, though, you may assume that you’re letting yourself in for limitless space. Sadly, that isn’t the case. Even MacBooks may struggle to store files from an entire pharmacy, let alone a research lab. And, if you overload hard drives, you could end up with slow systems and storage all over the place.

The good news is that Cloud storage can pretty much eliminate this, with expanded storage capabilities which are all in one place. If you don’t fancy putting your files in an elusive cloud, though, there are more tips to take note of, such as installing a program which regularly cleans your Mac to keep space free, or even installing a second internal hard drive. Either way, preparation is key to making sure you can file everything with ease.

Outside risks to confidential files

Whether you’re storing client information or new research findings, file protection is paramount. Reducing security breaches is actually one of the major arguments for going paperless and stopping the wrong people from getting your hands on their records.

The trouble is that going digital opens those files to risks you can’t see, and that could make keeping information safe even harder if you don’t prepare for it ahead of time. And, you only need to consider the fall out from the 2018 NHS leaks to realize how bad that could be, especially if you store any patient information. Luckily, there are easy ways around this, but you’ll need to put them in place before paperless is even a possibility. For one, you’ll want to make sure any cloud storage you use is on a closed network with security measures you can trust. On your systems, you should also implement malware and antivirus software which you regularly update to keep your new filing system as safe as it can be for a long time to come.

Once you’ve taken care of risks like these, though, there’s really no reason why paperless can’t power your scientific enterprise.

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